Blood clots contribute to serious conditions such as pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, clotting in the legs or death and blood thinning medications are often prescribed to break up existing clots and to prevent the formation of others in the future. The downside is that medications such as Coumadin and Heparin have potentially fatal side effects if they are not prescribed or administered properly. Pharmaceutical companies are required to warn patients of any risks associated with their medications and many of the side effects associated with blood thinning medications are understated or concealed. The only way to elicit change is to hold these companies accountable when their products become the cause of injury or wrongful death.
Causes of Blood Thinner Misuse or Abuse
One of the primary causes of injurious side effects related to blood thinning medications is overdose but drug interactions and poor blood monitoring may also contribute to excessive bleeding or exacerbate the condition. The ways in which Coumadin, Heparin and similar medications can cause harm include the following.
- Prescribing an incorrect dosage— overdosing on blood thinning medication can result in severe bleeding throughout the body or in the heart or brain.
- Improper labeling of medication— in some cases, patients have received prescriptions that were three times as potent as listed on the actual pill. It doesn’t take long for an error like this to cause severe complications or fatal events.
- Drug interactions— blood thinners may react adversely with other medications but doctors often fail to educate their patients on the effects of diet on drug interactions. Certain foods act as natural blood thinners and when combined with blood thinning medication, may increase their potency and effect. Understanding what foods and medications to avoid are extremely important when taking blood thinning medications and patients have not been receiving the education needed to prevent unintended interactions.
- Human error when administering medication— nurses or staff members tasked with giving medication to patients may misread instructions or administer an incorrect dosage, placing the patient at risk of an adverse event.
- Insufficient blood monitoring— excessive bleeding can be life-threatening so it is important that doctors test any patient’s blood on a regular basis if he or she is taking blood thinners in order to ensure that the patient is not at risk of a severe bleed and to adjust the dosage of medication prescribed if needed. This is often considered an inconvenience, but it may alert a doctor to a potential problem early enough to save patients’ lives.
Determining Liability in a Coumadin Error Case Involving a Nursing Home or Hospital
When a victim suffers from adverse effects of blood thinner use, it is important to determine the cause of his or her injuries in order to demand accountability from the right parties. As complications can be the result of numerous human or manufactural errors, it is important first to understand the events as they unfolded in order to build a solid case. It is important to collect any records that you can that would document when your doctor prescribed your medication, the dosage prescribed and who administered the dosage or filled the prescription as these records can trace the series of events preceding your injury.
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are a leading nursing home negligence and medical malpractice law firm in Chicago, Illinois that is dedicated to representing the interests of those who have suffered needlessly because of corporate greed or the misdeeds of others. If you have experienced excessive bleeding, heart attack, stroke, bleeding in the brain, brain damage or watched a loved one pass in an untimely manner due to the use of blood thinners such as Coumadin and Heparin, contact us today to learn more about your rights and legal options. We will evaluate the details of your case and investigate the matter more deeply in order to determine whether you should pursue legal action in order to recover compensation. If we are unable to assist you or fail to collect compensation for you, our time and services will cost you nothing.